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tv   MSNBC Live  MSNBC  April 17, 2013 8:00am-9:00am PDT

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express my sadness and my anger frankly over those terrible events. the you know, boston is is not going to be intimidated by this. but we're going to find out who did this. >> that emotional secretary of state john kerry this morning talking about the terror attacks in boston. i'm craig melvin filling in for thomas roberts. new pictures, new information about the bombs used in a deadly attack at the boston p marathon. all of this as president obama gets ready to comfort the victims in that city tomorrow. these are new images in to us from reuters appearing to show a circuit board, timers and other parts of the devices as well. authorities believe each bomb may have weigh ed about 20 pounds. they were packed with nails and ball bearings as well. the fbi says it's found the mangled remains of what appears to be a pressure cooker in a black nylon back that possibly
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held the bombs. the fbi is also examining photos like this one where you can see what looks like a trash bag next to a mailbox. that same shot just moments after shows a devastating scene. invest garretigators are lookin whether the devices were put in trash bags to hide them. meantime, they continue to ask the public for help in the form of pictures, videos and tips. >> the person who did this is someone's friend, neighbor, co-worker or relative. someone knows who did this. >> former mayor rudy giuliani in office during the 9/11 attacks weighed in on "morning joe," saying people need to give investigators more time to come up with answers. >> i think that impatience with the investigation is a little misplaced. i was in london the day of the bombing and back in 2005, it took a while to catch those people and they have maybe three times the surveillance cameras that we have.
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>> also today, mourning the victims. vigils and new details emerging about those killeded in the bombing and others still fighting for their lives. >> initially, we had 10 or 11 that we considered critical. now, we have two. they are still critically ill and most patients are making good progress. we'll not be happy until they're home. will not be satisfied. >> we have all angles covered today from the new details on the bombs themselves to the investigation to the rallying across this country. for boston. but we start with msnbc national investigative correspondent, michael isakoff, who is live in boston. michael, we have some video from invest garretts gators from moments ago. what are they doing now and what are we learning as well as from photos of those pressure cooker bombs? >> first of all, the search for
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evidence is intensifying just a few moments ago. agents with white hazmat suits and bomb sniffing dogs were sifting through the area near the bomb blasts on boylston street just a couple of blocks from where we are right now. that's a sign of just how exhaustive they're going to be in trying to collect any scrap of evidence they can get and also, the heightened security situation here, i should point out that just a few hours ago, we had those same bomb sniffing dogs going through our cameras here at nbc where we've got set up. so there is very much, the heightened security here is very acute and that does contradict a bit with a comments by law enforcement to sort of calm the public saying there's no imminent threat because the fact is, there is a bomber or bombers on the loose.
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those photos you mentioned before, we are getting these new photos in. they show the circuit board. they show most interestingly, elements of that pressure cooker, which you can see part of a corporate logo on that and the black nylon bag which also seems to show a corporate logo on it. now, what's significant about that is that it gives investigators a lead. they can now go to stores that sell these particular items, the pressure cookers, the nylon bags and ask have, who's been buying these items recently? do they have a list? is there surveillance cameras at some of these stores? now, that's going to be tough. it could take a long time. i'm told pressure cookers like this could also be sold at yard sales. so it may be a dead end in that respect, but it gives them
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something to work on in the absence of other leads. >> michael isakoff with the latest on the investigation from boston. thanks. i want to bripg in candice delong, a former profiler who helped with the unibomber and james cavanaugh. good to have you. candice, let me start with you. from all the reports about the content of the bomb, there's new pictures we just saw a few moments ago. pictures of a battery pack, pictures of a circuit board, bbs nails into that pressure cooker. in your experience, what can these things tell us? >> what they can tell us is the experience level of the bomber. have they done this kind of thing before? do they have military training or did they get this out of the anarchists cookbook if you will,
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or something off the internet. it doesn't look like the damage regarding this is insignificant. it didn't look to me like it's a highly sophisticated bombmaker. >> would that be an indication this might be the work of someone who's not necessarily an expert? >> it could mean it is the work of someone who's not necessarily an expert or more than one person. >> what might the fact that no one or no group at this point has claimed responsibility, what might that tell us about the suspect or suspects? >> i don't think it's inconsequential that well, our most famous terrorist group, al-qaeda, has not claimed credit for this. they usually want credit for what they did. i think one of the things i've been thinking since monday certainly tuesday when there was no credit for it at that point was that this was probably not what we would call state sponsored terrorism and that it
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might be a home grown individual not to say that they aren't political extremists or i mean, al-qaeda has released their, they'll give their information to anybody and go forth. if you share our views, do what you want to do. we don't know if al-qaeda's behind this or not. it doesn't like to me like it's an organized, sophisticated bombing effort. >> james, there's something else that's complicating all of this. take a listen. >> there are descriptions for how to make this kind of bomb on many websites in every major language and an ordinary search engine will take you to them. >> with so many people capable of making one of these simple bombs, how will investigators sift through the suspect sns. >> well, what they're going to have to do is develop suspects from the community, from who
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might have purchased like item, forensics, from the bomb, there could be fingerprint, dna. there could be tips come in and preincident behavior, testing bombs. there's lot of ways, names of people and suspects will come up to the command post and investigators and candice made some great points and i agree with the way she's thinking about it. the bomber or bombers are very determined, very purposeful. they have it electrically fused, im improvised mind, place to create maximum death in a device that can be carried. maybe their resources are vast, so they don't have a lot of money. why didn't they put it in a car full of explosives? well, they don't have the money for that. and also, they have a manned portable device. so this device is carried in. one person could have carried in
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two bombs. they could have one in the duffel bag and one in the backpack. mike isakoff was talking about the scene there. where the case starts, the epicenter of the case is the seed of the blast. and the seed of the blast is where the agents go to start. and the case works out from there really in this case, right across the world. and you've got two blast seats, they've zeroed in on them. if that garbage bag is one of the bombs that's been in the photographs, it was placed over the fence or don't rule out that someone was on the other side of the fence. it could have been you know, looked like a street sweeper. could have one of those yellow marathon vests around been a volchenkvo vollen tier. the other device, possibly behind the fence, which was like a dune fence, maybe to keep
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bystanders from touching it. you'll notice in the pictures, it's about ten feet in from the curb. there's a diabolical nature. >> thanks to both of you. do appreciate your time. >> welcome. >> in the midst of the death and destruction, boston continues to rally around the victims as well. at least three vigils were held yesterday. one in dorchester to honor 8-year-old martin richard, one of the boston common and another at an interfaith service across the street from the common. join i joining me now, congressman of massachusetts. a woman drove two of her sons, each lost a leg in the bombing. what can you tell us about how that family is doing? >> i can't tell you an awful lot. i understand that the mother an one of the sons lives in the district in wakefield and the
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other son lives just outside. we trieded to reach her and offer any support, but there was no voice mail, no answer on that, so we've checked with town officials who i know are very concerned and they're going to try to keep an eye out to make sure whatever support the family needs is there and they know that everybody is concerned for them. >> you're the ranking trat on the subcommittee, homeland security secretary napolitano spoke. >> there is no current indication to suggest the attack was indicative of a broader plot, but out of an abundance of caution, we continue to keep in place enhanced security measures, both seen and unseen in coordination with federal, state and local partners. we continued to urge the american public to remain vigilant and immediately report signs of suspicious activity. >> what kind of briefings on the investigation are you being given if any?
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>> secretary's been very good. she's called personally to the different members of the delegation and shared with us all the information she has to date and obviously, we have an open channel there with her staff anytime we need to know more. the white house has been good. they've been making sure that people are informed and we feel comfortable we'll get the information we need to have. we don't want to interfere and be a burden on the process of this invest gag, so we're trying to strike that delicate balance, showing support and concern for families involved. being able to act where we need to act on anything, but also not be in the way of the secretary or anybody else's involvement of this investigation. >> congressman, thank you for your time. >> thank you. >> how is it senator, that americans do not do this, that bostonians, new yorkers, we do not do this. we get up, we walk ahead, on ward throughout the day. how is it that we are less
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afraid of terrorism in our streets than you are of the nra? >> msnbc contributor, mike barnacle after learning the vote on that bipartisan deal on background checks is all but doomeded. kelly o'donnell gets the scoop from joe manchin, plus, mark sanford will be heading to court for possibly violating his divorce settlement. reports on what his ex-wife says he's done now. access control, fire and intrusion protection. all backed up with world-class monitoring centers, thousands of qualified technicians, and a personal passion to help protect your business. when your business is optimized like that, there's no stopping you. we are tyco integrated security. and we are sharper.
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we have over 90% of the senate democrats that will vote affirmative. if we just had 20% of our republican colleagues, that's not a heavy ask, not a heavy lift. only 20%. that's nine members, nine member, this thing would be home and we'll see. >> senator joe manchin on
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"morning joe" today saying he's hopeful, but told kelly o'donnell, quote, we will not get the votes when the senate convenes today to take up the bipartisan gun control bill he crafted with pat toomey. all despite a push from newtown families and a number polls showing overwhelming support for expanding background checks in this country with the senate poised to vote this afternoon, plus the nra is out with a new internet ad. >> president obama and mayor bloomberg are pushing gun control, but america's police say they're wrong. 71% of police say obama's gun ban will have zero effect on violent crime. 80% of police say more background checks will have no effect. 91% say the right answer is swift prosecution and mandatory sentencing. tell your senator to listen to america's police instead of listening to obama.
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>> joining me now, the woman who broke this story, kelly o'donnell and kelly, i understand you've got more breaking news on this as well. >> craig, there is so much happening here, i've got a couple of things i want to tell you, first, on guns, we were first to report that kelly ayotte, republican of new hampshire, will be making it very difficult for those who are supporting manchin toomey to get that passed, but just seconds ago, we had a loud speaker announcement here at the russell senate office building where police say there is a suspicious package near the office of richard shelby and therefore, they are trying to clear the area. everyone here is on high alert because of what's happened in boston and because of what's happened with a ricin letter, a suspicious letter sent to roger wicker, republican of mississippi. off site, they detected as a mail facility, a letter that
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contained a white granular s substance that in an initial test proved to be ricin. work on that continues. where i'm standing now, if you can hear overhead, there's sort of a muffle ed sound of police announcing they are clearing the area around richard shelby's office because of a suspicious package. now, that is a function of the world we live in now. there are often circumstances where bags are left and a place considered such a hey value target like the u.s. capitol, there are measures frequently taken. i don't want to be alarmist, i'm just telling you what's happening right now. they have not received alerts updating them on the ricin situation. they were told last night to alert offices in the capitol and in their home states about that and all mail to the u.s. senate has been put on hold while that investigation continues.
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we have enormous topics unfolding sim ul tan yously here with the expectation that the guns bill on manchin toomey, the expanded background checks, the votes are not there. that is expected to fail. between now and 4:00 p.m., if minds are change echanged, it c changed and we're seeing realtime effects with boston, with the letter and the height bed state we all live in. we'll keep you posted if there are further developments. again, suspicious package here. no immediate concern. i don't believe we're being evacuated. >> thank you so much. again, kelly o'donnell from capitol hill on a suspicious package there, part of the senate being evacuated. as you were speaking, we've gotten confirmation that a letter addressed to the president contained a suspicious substan substance. kristen welker standing by with more on the suspicious letter
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sent to the president. what can you tell us about this? >> i'm just getting information from the secret service. the letter was received on the 16th. it was addressed to the president containing a suspicious substance received at the remote white house screening mail facility. now, this facility ree teenly identifies letters or parcels that require secondary screening or scientific testing before they're delivered. the secret service white house mail screening facility is remote. it's not located near the white house. and the secret service the working in concert with the fbi and dhs to get to the bottom of this. obviously, a very tense time here in the wake of the bombings in boston. and then that letter that was intercepted to the senator that we learned about, so again, right now, the secret service fbi and dhs investigating a letter addressed to president obama that did contain a
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substan substance, so that is the latest here from the white house. the briefing by jay kacarney is expected to start within the half hour, so he will undoubtedly get a number of questions about this. president obama scheduled to travel to boston tomorrow, but obviously, people here in d.c. on heightened alert. they have been ever since that bombing on tuesday and this just adding to this concern. >> kristen welker from the white house, jonathan dienst is sta standing by for us as well here in the studio. jonathan, what, if anything, can you add to this? what more with k you tell us about this suspicious letter mailed to the president or the suspicious letter that was also sent to senator richard shelby? >> we are hearing from the secret service that this letter addressed to the president was recovered at that remote screening facility. we started hearing rumblings last night that a letter had been sent to the white house and
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that the secret service was involved in an investigation and a spokesman did confirm for us this morning that a letter addressed to the president was recovered at that site. it is being tested. they're looking into whether it is connected to the same letters sent to capitol hill. we are hearing from a law enforcement source there's a sektd suspicious letter to senator wicker that they're also taking a look at, but that letter has not been tested yet. >> this would be a second letter on top of the first one, correct? >> that is what we are being told, so that two letters to that senator wicker and one to the white house is what we are hearing and that the one all of them were intercepted at off site locations. after the letters in 2001 and the secret service says they are working closely with the capitol
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police and fbi in kconnection with the letter addressed to the white house. this letter as opposed to the many other hoax letters and pea materials that get sent through that center certainly raising the attention of secret service and causing this investigation that they are taking this one very seriously. certainly in connection with what happened with the letters to the capitol as well. >> we should note for our viewers at home that none of these letters have tested positive for ricin. nor have officials or authorities connected these letters and or packages. i want to bring in kristen welker again. i believe i heard you saw we are expected to hear from president obama in roughly 30 or 45 minutes? >> no, we're going to hear from jay carney. he is going to be delivering his daily briefing.
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president obama has spoken to the nation these past two days. at this point in time, we are not education pecexpecting that but these events are fluid. the president will be traveling to boston tomorrow to speak with the victims there, the community of boston, but as of right now, what we are expecting the daily press briefing from white house press secretary, jay carney, who will undoubtedly field a number of questions about this letter that was sent to president obama and intercepted and apparently now according to the secret service, has a suspicious substance and again, the secret service working in concert with the fbi, dhs and other officials to get to the bottom of exactly who is behind sending these letters out. >> kristen welker from the white house, jonathan dienst here in the studio for us, we are going to take a quick break. a number of fluid, breaking stories here at msnbc. [ male announcer ] it's simple physics...
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back now with more breaking news we've been following. a number of suspicious letters, the most recent sent to president obama. kristen welker standing by at the white house with more. let's reset for our viewers at home. what do we know about this point about the letter received at this off site mail facility? >> well, craig, it was received on the 16th. addressed to president obama and seems to contain a suspicious substance according to officials with the secret service. important to highlight the fact it was intercepted at an off site facility. i am being told it is not uncommon for letters to undergo tests when they are received at this facility, so this is a part of the process, this letter is thought to contain a suspicious substance, so right now, obviously, heightened concern surrounding that. now, white house press secretary, jay carney, is expected to hold his daily
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briefing in just about 15 or 20 minutes from now, so he will undoubtedly get a number of questions about this letter and of course, the suspicious let es sent to senator wicker. i can tell you that ever since the bombings in boston, craig, pennsylvania avenue has been closed off to foot traffic out of an abundance of caution, really, that is what the secret service had said to us, to clearly, washington, d.c. right now under a heightened alert in the wake of the bombings in boston. we know that president obama will travel to boston tomorrow. he will speak with the victims, their family members, to that community and he has been updated regularly on the situation on the investigation, but again, there is no at this point, knowledge about whether or not these letters have any connection to what happened in boston, but obviously, this community on heightened alert as are major cities. >> as you were speaking, we were able to confirm from a federal law enforcement official that the letter addressed to
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president obama and the letter addressed to senator wicker are being described as quote very similar to each other. i want to bring in pete williams, who's also standing by for us in washington, d.c. and pete, i understand that there was an initial positive test, but there's really no way to know whether it's really ricin until additional testing is done. >> ever since the anthrax mailings, no mail has gone directly to the white house, capitol hill and many other government offices. it's all sent to off site facilities to test it for various things. both facilities gave an initial positive for a poison called ricin. there were subsequent tests, they were conflicting. but you can't really know for sure what it is until it's sent to a lab and cultured and then you look under a mike scope to see what it is.
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now, we have seen events in the past, craig, ice ricin is made tr castor beans and someone will just take dried beans and grind them up and put them in a letter. now, that will test positive for ricin even though there's no ricin there. i guess it would be like the difference between poppies and opium. they're related, but it's not the same thing. so you won't know whether it's ricin until later today i'm told is the earliest the test results would come in. that's thing one. thing two is that federal inv investigators believe they know who sent these letters. they say it's someone who has sent threatening letters to government officials before. there's no reason to think it's connected to what happened in boston. >> pete williams with some additional breaking news there. federal officials seem to have a good idea. do stand by. i want to bring jonathan dienst
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back in. a number of your sources in the nation's capitol, what are your hearing? >> this is precautionary. no final tests in. the statement they told us earlier today, a letter addressed to the president was received at a remote screening facility containing a suspicious substance. we are working closely with capitol police. the letters are similar to the one sent to the capitol, so therefore, you have two letters, probably sent by the same snrt that is now being investigated if any dangerous substance is included inside these mailings. again, they were off site locations. no 100% confirmation. but official field testing is what raised the concern. again, the secret service taking this one very seriously given what happened on the capitol yesterday. >> pete, are you still there? is pete still there?
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we don't have pete. jonathan, i'll pose the question to you for folks who may not be -- oh, pete is this. how customary is this, pete? i think we heard kristen welker, quite frankly, there are a number of suspicious packages received at these facilities. >> there are and the field tests almost always are wrong, so we have to wait and see. i remember one incident where there was enormous concern about a letter possibly containing anthrax and it turned out to be paper dust. so we have to sort of, all the systems are working right here. they're obviously set for a very low threshold to indicate something positive, so they're waiting to see. think about all the containment here. none of these got to the recipients. they think they know who the sender is. they were stopped. they're testing them now. ricin is very different from
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anthrax. you can get symptoms if you just touch it. if it's in the air. ricin, you have to ingest. so, it's a completely different kind of thing. it's threatening, it's poisonous, dangerous, but we still don't know if that's what we're dealing with here. >> as we wait on these result, we are also waiting on white house spokesman, jay carney. he is expected to address us at about 11:45. the daily briefing, there will be a lot of questions about this and about the investigation into the boston bombings and a connection perhaps between the two at this point. again, we should note for our viewers, officials are telling us there's no connection at this point. they're not talking about a connection between the suspicious letter sent to the white house. >> in fact, they're talking in the negative. they're saying they believe there is no connection. >> no connection. pete williams, we'll take a quick break, come back with a lot more. stay with us. s ereturn-- our fastest way to return your car. just note your mileage and zap ! you're outta there !
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we are following a number of breaking news stories right now here at msnbc.
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you're looking at a live picture of the white house briefing room where we are expected to hear from jay carney at roughly 11:45. he will be receiving a number of questions about the suspicious letter received. it was a suspicious letter to president obama right now we're following that. we're also following a suspicious package. richard shelby's office is now confirms that capitol police are investigating a suspicious package at senator shelby's office in russell and at this point, again, at this point, investigator rs saying there's no connection between the suspicious letter, there was a substance found inside, no connection between that an the boston bombings. you're looking at new video we're just getting in. again, this is video from the capitol where that package is being looked at and senator shelby's office, that suspicious package, they're also saying, we
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have confirmed there are some similarities between two letters, the letter that was sent to the senate, also, the letter sent to the white house. jonathan dienst is standing by right here. results again may be available by late today at the earliest, we understand. >> that's right. they discovered these letters yes and the official lab tests take about 24 hours for that kind of test to be done, but preliminary field testing on both the letters to senator wicker's office and to the white house, both intercepted at off site facilities, have preliminary field tests of positive and appear to be sent by the same person, so that is why there is this concern, this stepped up investigation into the sender of these letters by both the secret service and fbi. and capitol police as they look into who sent these letters, but our senior investigative producer is saying it is the same send r according to his
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sources and that there are positive field tests in both cases and they are awaiting formal lab results. remember, we see lots of false positives in tests and situations like that. we've seen you know, suspicious powder jobs all across new york city for example, whether there's an initial false positive and it turns out to be a harmless substance, to a deep breath until we know more. but this one, this set of letters causing more concern for law enforcement than the typical false letter. >> we should also note here according to our man down in d.c., pete williams, officials seem to have a pretty good idea about who sent these letters. i want to bring in kelly o'donnell standing by for us at the capitol and when we talked to you just 15 minutes or so ago, you indicated that there was i understand an evacuation of sorts going on. what's the latest? >> i want to be very careful to say what we are watching unfold here is the pru dent work of the
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u.s. capitol police and it's the kind of thing that when you are in a building of this cig tans, they're prepared to do on a daily basis and there are times these things occur and we don't report on them because there isn't the context that we're seeing now with what has happened in boston and the ricin letters. this is a public building. there has not been an evacuation of this building, the russell senate office building. there has been a clearing of hallways around richard shelby's office and a significant amount of activity from u.s. capitol police. we saw the gentleman with the bomb squad identification on and some heavy equipment rolling down the hallway to take precautions, but again, if you put some judgment in this, they're not evacuating this space, they're taking the steps they would normally take. it is part of the reality at the u.s. capitol. they have been on a heightened state of alert since what happened in boston.
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sometimes, it has been seemingly minimal things like removing trash cans in public spaces. more security, longer lines for those coming into buildings, but this is a place where any member of the public is able to come into to visit their members of congress. they do go through a screening process. it's also a place where people are visiting. many tourist, people who have bags. we don't know anything about the specifics of what was at the office, but i think what is instructive here is this is an opportunity in a live way to let people see how they respond without raising an undue amount of concern. i think if there were a greater concern, we wouldn't be talking to you from this location. we would have been evacuated. >> again, kelly o'donnell noting there has been a clearing of hallways there at russell. for folks just joining us, on the left side of your screen, we've got the white house briefing room, where we are expecteded to hear from jay carney, he will undoubtedly be
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getting a lot of questions about three things. first of all, the letter sent to president obama intercepted at an off site facility. also, a package, senator richard shelby's office confirming that capitol police are investigating a suspicious package at the senator's office. again, there has not been an evacuation there. also, we got word a short time ago there was another letter perhaps an additional letter, a suspicious letter sent to senator wicker, so those are the three things we expect along with the boston bombing investigation. kelly, i want to bripg you back in right now because you broke the story on the richard shelby suspicious package there. any new information on that? >> we have reached out to authorities here who are taking the weigait and see approach.
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there were overhead announcements made to alert people in the media. i've talked to a couple of senators in the time in between visiting with you and they have not been given any additional alerts and there is a standard practice here that the chiefs of staff, senators personally and their top aides get alerts if there is a reason for extreme caution. this is a place well versed in responding to concerns. this is part of how the system works. when i've talked to senators with respect to the ricin letters, they were told in a briefing that the writer of the suspicious letter is known to authorities because he or she writes to members of congress frequently. that you can imagine does happen quite a bit. so, they are prepared for that. their offices were told to be on alert. again for those who aren't familiar, ever since 2001 and the anthrax attacks here at the
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capitol, all mail is tested off site in suburban maryland here, so all of the delivery of mail to the senate is on hold. it continues for the u.s. house as they do these tests. as we've been reporting, there were two initial tests on the letter. a white granular substance that proved to be ricin, but there can be false positives and more can be on the way. a culturing of that process should be able later today to know if that substance was in fact ricin. but everyone is responding to it as if this is something that needs to have their high attention, so we don't have much in the way of an official response except what we're observing and because i've worked in this place for a long time, we get a chance to see these routines play out in various levels of alert. today, obviously, everyone is is on point. >> kelly o'donnell from the c
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capitol, again, i don't think we can stress this enough, not only are officials being careful not to draw any connections between what's happening right now at the capitol and on monday in boston, they are saying at this point, there is no connection between these ricin letters and what happened in boston on monday. we'll take a quick break. we'll come back. we'll update all these stories right after this. i'm telling you right now, the girl back at home would absolutely not have taken a zip line in the jungle. (screams) i'm really glad that girl stayed at home. vo: expedia helps 30 million travelers a month find what they're looking for. one traveler at a time. expedia. find yours. how much is too much water? too little? until we got miracle-gro moisture control. it does what basic soils don't by absorbing more water, so it's there when plants need it. with the right soil,
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then another hundred off every year you don't have an accident. let the good hands reward your safe driving with a deductible that goes away. ♪ deductible rewards. one more way you're in good hands with allstate. ♪ welcome back. we continue to wait for white house spokesman jay carney. he is expected to start his daily briefing any minute now. no doubt today a great deal of that briefing will be devoted to three different things. the first being the suspicious letter that was sent to president obama that was intercepted at an off-site mail facility. also a suspicious package at senator shelby's office. his office firming that officials have cleared the hallway in the russell office building as they investigate what's being described, and senator roger wicker, the letter
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that initially tested positive for ricin, officials are saying that the letter sent to the president is very similar to the one that was sent to senator roger wicker as well. i want to bring in pete williams, our justice correspondent standing by for us in d.c. pete, again, for folks who are just joining us, i think once again it's probably a good idea to stress the fact that there is at this point according to officials no connection between these letters and what happened in boston. is that correct? >> right. what you have here is letters that were sent they believe by the same person. they believe they know who it was, a person in mississippi sent the letters to a senator and to the white house. both of them were intercepted at the off-site mail facilities that are now routinely used to process all incoming mail in washington to government facilities. this has been going on since after the anthrax mail attacks of a decade ago. initially they tested positive for a poison known as ricin, but
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field tests are frequently wrong. they're intended to be set at a very low threshold to signal what things you want to set aside for further testing. so the materials in both these letters have been sent to a laboratory for analysis. they basically take the stuff, put it on plates and culture it, and then once the cultures grow, and that takes time, they can analyze it and see what it really is. the earliest we think we'll get the results of that, they believe, is late tonight, perhaps early tomorrow to know for sure what it was. so in the meantime they're not making any arrests, we're told. they're waiting to see what the material is. there's simply no way to know whether these were merely threatening letters or dangerous letters. >> senator mitch mcconnell talked about the ricin letters just a short time ago. let's take a listen. >> the last few days have been trying once for our nation. monday's attack in boston reminded us that terrorism can still strike anywhere at any
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time. and as yesterday's news of an attempt to send ricin to the capitol reminds us, it's important as ever to take the steps necessary to protect americans from those who would do us harm. >> kelly o'donnell continues to stand by for us there at the capitol as we wait for white house spokesman jay karney to take the podium. talk to me a bit about the mood there. as the senator just pointed out, there have been a number of developments in this country over the past few days to say the least. what's the mood like? >> i've been talking to lawmakers about all of these events. you can be absolutely certain they are concerned. it began, of course, with the empathy and concern about what's happened in boston, and a commitment from an oversight perspective to get as much done as upon to deal with that. they've been getting breeched, and then you have the ricin letter, and it brings back the
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legitimate concerns that lawmakers have about the u.s. capitol as a potential target, even for someone who is angry about a given subject, angry about the government, or perhaps something more sinister. we just don't know yet. it's fair to say that on a very regular basis, there is some level at discontent that is aimed at lawmakers. i think that's a mild way to describe it. it comes in letters and phone calls o in talking with senators, they have said to me they consider this to be something they take seriously. i would say i have gotten no sense of any particular alarm, but they are well trained in being careful about this. they have an opportunity with the u.s. capitol police to get some guidance about that. now, in terms of members of congress, the vast majority don't have any particular security when they travel, just members of leadership have that, and so there are opportunities when there's a heightened sense
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of alert to have more presence. we've certainly seen a greater presence, but it's a place that's living and breathing and going about the way it normally does. we're in tourist season, plenty of tourists here, certainly the normal business of washington, where people come and meet with their lawmakers, so that's continuing. that certainly is a sign of how important it is to just keep things moving and to stay on point. >> kelly, thanks. thanks also to pete williams and kristin welker as well. again, we are waiting on jay carney to take the podium there to answer some questions about that suspicious letter. he will undoubtedly also be talking about the latest on the investigation to the boston bombings and the suspicious package that's being investig e investigated? senator shelby's office. that wraps things up for me. "now with alex wagner" is up next. what do you have. we're following the breaking news regards the suspicious letter and awaiting for press
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secretary jay carney to take the podium. the search forrens as continues meanwhile, in boston with new details about the construction of the two bombs. mike at leiter will join us to discuss. plus behind the explosion of home-grown extremist groups. we'll talk about a new report on so-called patriot groups. in the aftermath of boston, what is the future for reform efforts on guns and immigration. luke russert and bob herbert join the panel. all that and more, coming up next.
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to prove to you that aleve is the better choice for him, he's agreed to give it up. that's today? [ male announcer ] we'll be with him all day as he goes back to taking tylenol. i was okay, but after lunch my knee started to hurt again. and now i've got to take more pills. ♪ yup. another pill stop. can i get my aleve back yet? ♪ for my pain, i want my aleve. ♪ [ male announcer ] look for the easy-open red arthritis cap. days after the bombings at the boston marathon, another campaign of fear begins with suspicious packages delivered to congress and the white house. it's wednesday, april 17th, this is "now." >>


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